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Radar for inshore navigation, 23' CC

Old 01-05-2018, 08:37 AM
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Default Radar for inshore navigation, 23' CC

I couldn't find any recent threads on this, but please point me to a discussion if I'm duplicating topics here. I'm reaching the end of a refurb on my boat, and looking forward to a 2018 filled with chilling rather than sanding (which is pretty much the theme of my 2017!). My wife and I LOVE boating at night, but she doesn't understand quite how many times I nearly die from an anxiety induced heart-attack as we are navigating in the dark! So, I'm thinking radar.

I might be a bit odd here, hence the new topic. Here's my current boat usage.
  • It's a 23', single engine CC
  • We don't fish, yet, but we do plan on learning and enjoying some of the nearshore artifical reefs. We won't be heading 100 miles out on a tuna run in this boat!
  • We mainly enjoy the boat for exploring, chilling, hanging with friends
  • We plan to start making some longer trips up and down the coast - maybe even trailer over to the east coast and hop down the Keys or over to Bimini
  • All strictly inshore and nearshore (yeah - Bimini not so nearshore but that would be an exception.

So, I don't need long range weather, I don't need to see birds, and I can't get the radar higher than the top of my T-Top. All I want to do is be safe at night/poor vis, and I don't want to spend a bunch on superfluous features, longer-than-useful range etc. I happen to have a Lowrance chartplotter right now (Elite Ti) but will have to upgrade that at the same time since I will need a bigger display for the radar.

This is a bit speculative right now - just trying to figure out what a good option would be so I can assess the price. Yes I know: you can't put a price on safety, but you can be safe at 4 knots. The decision is about how much I want to spend to feel safe going faster in poor vis.

Thanks!
Old 01-05-2018, 08:44 AM
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You might as well go with Simrad since it's compatible with Lowrance. You could get the 3G or 4G for what you need. I have the 4G and find it a good radar but really have little use for it since I seldom go out at night and we almost never have fog. I find the GPS 100 times more useful for navigating than radar.

Are you more worried about other boats or hitting a non moving object or running aground? At night I go pretty slow in the inter coastal but offshore is different.

If I had it to do over I doubt I would buy radar again. Auto pilot is much more valuable in my opinion.

Last edited by KVH; 01-05-2018 at 09:00 AM.
Old 01-05-2018, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by KVH View Post
You might as well go with Simrad since it's compatible with Lowrance. You could get the 3G or 4G for what you need. I have the 4G and find it a good radar but really have little use for it since I seldom go out at night and we almost never have fog. I find the GPS 100 times more useful for navigating than radar.

If I had it to do over I doubt I would buy radar again. Auto pilot is much more valuable in my opinion.
The Elite-Ti is a standalone unit that is not capable of Ethernet networking or radar. It does have NMEA2000 but that works across brands. You should not feel locked in to Navico products.

If you're looking for a simple radar system, Look at Simrad GO series, Raymarine Axiom, or Garmin 742xs/942xs. These are all radar capable at relatively low cost. You could consider selling your Elite-Ti to help pay for the new unit or keep it as dedicated chart plotter or fishfinder. The Elite-Ti is a pretty nice unit its just not radar capable.
Old 01-05-2018, 08:53 AM
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A 3G or 4G radar from Lowrance or Simrad is my recommendation. I have Simrad 4G which I use all the time when I'm out with the boat. I fish a lot under low light conditions and sometimes also in fog, but by alwyas using it I understand much better what I see under difficult conditions.

Simrad GO9 XSE or GO12XSE are great alternatives for a new screen, but you should also check out HDS Gen3 which is on clearance sale now. GO XSE is very similar to Elite Ti, but radar compatible.
Old 01-05-2018, 12:56 PM
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Very interesting - I am surprised at how well priced these lower end radars are. Of course, the new MFD will add a chunk to that, but as Amity said my Elite unit is worth something and I can reuse my TotalScan transducer.

So is 4G worth it over 3G for my needs?
Old 01-05-2018, 01:22 PM
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4G has better range, 36 vs 24 miles. It has the ability to show dual range radar and high RPM mode at certain zoom levels. The main reason to go 4G over 3G is the Beam Sharpening which improves the azimuth resolution for more accurate returns. The difference is noticeable but that's not to say the 3G is a bad radar. If budget is an issue, I think you'd be better off upgrading to a larger 9 or 12 inch display than going from the 3G to the 4G($500 more) People regularly caught in fog or night fishing may lean towards the extra performance the 4G offers.
Old 01-05-2018, 08:59 PM
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I would highly recommend an infrared camera over radar for your usage. It is like driving in daytime. You can see that clearly. Radar is good for fog, storms, long range navigation in open waters, birds etc. in close range night navigation it does not remove the “pucker” factor IMO. There is still plenty of things to avoid that you can’t see, except for a blob on the screen.

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Old 01-06-2018, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by pablor View Post
I would highly recommend an infrared camera over radar for your usage. It is like driving in daytime. You can see that clearly. Radar is good for fog, storms, long range navigation in open waters, birds etc. in close range night navigation it does not remove the “pucker” factor IMO. There is still plenty of things to avoid that you can’t see, except for a blob on the screen.

My 2c
Now that's some really good advice and not something that I'd thought of. You are right - maybe radar is even overkill for what I need since it really is all about being safer at night. I imagine I can get an IR system set up for less than a low end radar too, and upgrade to radar later as my needs change. We're still fairly new to ocean boating in the US so our boat usage is evolving over time.
Old 01-06-2018, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ukadrianj View Post
Now that's some really good advice and not something that I'd thought of. You are right - maybe radar is even overkill for what I need since it really is all about being safer at night. I imagine I can get an IR system set up for less than a low end radar too, and upgrade to radar later as my needs change. We're still fairly new to ocean boating in the US so our boat usage is evolving over time.
Radar is never overkill, its probably the second most important piece of electronics besides your VHF. One thing no one has mentioned is that you have to know how to use it (distinguish targets) otherwise its useless. I'm a furuno guy, but simrad has a good radar as well. You can get used units for $500.

As far as an infrared camera or FLIR, absolutely not. First off, if you think radar is overkill, then FLIR is 10 times overkill. Any unit under 1/2 mile is useless, and your talking around $5K for a fixed unit. Our 1/4 mile FLIR on our workboat costs $4K three years ago. Secondly, if your as new to ocean boating as you say, you want to learn how to safely boat at night without tons of electronics first. Its a whole different world at night when your electronics fail. Its also not the best idea to be constantly staring at screens.

Best way to safely boat at night? Slow down, keep your radio on and be alert. Try and find a decent radar setup for your boat and know your area.
Old 01-06-2018, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by gregb5220 View Post
Radar is never overkill, its probably the second most important piece of electronics besides your VHF. One thing no one has mentioned is that you have to know how to use it (distinguish targets) otherwise its useless. I'm a furuno guy, but simrad has a good radar as well. You can get used units for $500.

As far as an infrared camera or FLIR, absolutely not. First off, if you think radar is overkill, then FLIR is 10 times overkill. Any unit under 1/2 mile is useless, and your talking around $5K for a fixed unit. Secondly, if your as new to ocean boating as you say, you want to learn how to safely boat at night without tons of electronics first. Its a whole different world at night when your electronics fail. Its also not the best idea to be constantly staring at screens.

Best way to safely boat at night? Slow down, keep your radio on and be alert. Try and find a decent radar setup for your boat and know your area.
I was just looking at FLIR and starting to reach the same conclusion, especially when you look at the price of useful system - holy poop!

I'm not so much new to night boating - did 20 years of it inland with no instruments, so I'm very comfortable with that. But now we've moved to the coast and we're changing the way we boat, I definitely want to think about getting geared up for safety. As I mentioned in my original post, my interest in radar is really about going faster than being safe - as you point out, you can be safe at low speeds with your wits about you and a trusted spotter onboard to help. Looking for a used radar might be just the ticket - I'm sure people upgrade from entry level systems all the time.
Old 01-06-2018, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ukadrianj View Post
I was just looking at FLIR and starting to reach the same conclusion, especially when you look at the price of useful system - holy poop!

I'm not so much new to night boating - did 20 years of it inland with no instruments, so I'm very comfortable with that. But now we've moved to the coast and we're changing the way we boat, I definitely want to think about getting geared up for safety. As I mentioned in my original post, my interest in radar is really about going faster than being safe - as you point out, you can be safe at low speeds with your wits about you and a trusted spotter onboard to help. Looking for a used radar might be just the ticket - I'm sure people upgrade from entry level systems all the time.
Absolutely, like I say I like furuno, I picked up a 1942 MK2 open array for $500 and it works just as well as the $10K Navnet TZ on our workboat. I just feel at night you cant be fully safe unless your cut your speed down. I usually don't do more than 20 knots at night unless I absolutely have to.
Old 01-06-2018, 09:16 AM
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Even a 2k dome is more than adequate for your needs. Only recently did my brother upgrade from a 2k and greyscale monitor that was over a dozen years old. His was a Furuno if I recall correctly.

I love my 4khd and 12" mfd but it's way overkill for you.
Old 01-06-2018, 09:45 AM
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Radar is probably MORE important for in-shore/ near shore. It is where most of the boat traffic and hard targets are....

If you dont want to add a full MFD, there are a couple very nice stand alone radars on the market. Keep in mind that when you need radar, you will want a radar only screen. Overlay gets very cluttered, especially inshore/nearshore. Here are two good stand alones for the $$.
  • Furuno 1815 - It has great navigational tools like ARPA that will automatically track up to 10 targets as well as true trails (not relative)..
  • SiTex T760 - It has a small touch screen and ARPA (manually acquire)

Last edited by iFishMD; 01-06-2018 at 09:57 AM.
Old 01-06-2018, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by iFishMD View Post
Radar is probably MORE important for in-shore/ near shore. It is where most of the boat traffic and hard targets are....

If you dont want to add a full MFD, there are a couple very nice stand alone radars on the market. Keep in mind that when you need radar, you will want a radar only screen. Overlay gets very cluttered, especially inshore/nearshore. Here are two good stand alones for the $$.
  • Furuno 1815 - It has great navigational tools like ARPA that will automatically track up to 10 targets as well as true trails (not relative)..
  • SiTex T760 - It has a small touch screen and ARPA (manually acquire)
Those both look like great options - I have some reading to do. My main performance requirement would be to have resolution enough to pick up unlit navigation marks.
Old 01-07-2018, 04:36 AM
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3g will work great for you, I can see everything in front of me with mine. Just play with it during the day to learn what it’s showing you and you will be confident in all situations.
Old 01-07-2018, 05:05 AM
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I put radar on a 20' cc. I don't use it to it's full potential, but I did it because it's another tool to use to be safer getting in and out in from offshore early and late in the dark.

I know a lot of people cringe at West Marine pricing, but actually on electronics it's not bad on the MFD packages. Especially if you're a gold member and buy it on one of their double or triple points days. I got a couple hundred back in West Marine bucks when I bought mine. They also have some really good protection plans. Wait until they go on sale, which they seem to do frequently.
https://www.westmarine.com/multifunction-packages

I have a eS78 radar pack, and later added an Axiom 9. I really like both units. Only thing really irking me if raymarine dragging their feet on putting out lighthouse 3 updates for the eS.
Old 01-07-2018, 11:10 AM
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I'm definitely liking the Furuno 1815 - does anyone have one? I'm trying to find out the weight of the antenna unit. It's a little amusing that the specs include the Pantone color of the radome but not the weight which is a rather important parameter!
Old 01-07-2018, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ukadrianj View Post
I'm definitely liking the Furuno 1815 - does anyone have one? I'm trying to find out the weight of the antenna unit. It's a little amusing that the specs include the Pantone color of the radome but not the weight which is a rather important parameter!
Doh! Never mind: 14.3 lb. They had it listed on the website but not in the manual.
Old 01-07-2018, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ukadrianj View Post
I'm definitely liking the Furuno 1815 - does anyone have one?
I don't have the 1815 but I have a similar 4kw UHD radome with a TZT2 MFD. It will give similar performance, just that you dont have the overlay option. However as I mentioned earlier, overlay is not good for when you NEED radar. There is too much clutter overlaying on a chart and you can easily miss a hard target, especially inshore where charts tend to be more cluttered. I think Furuno has the best radars on the market..

The 1815 seems like a great option for the money if you dont have the budget or want to buy a full MFD to add radar. Here is my TZT2 with a 4kw UHD radome. If you do go MFD, do NOT got smaller than 9" in a widescreen format for radar, and much preferably 12".



Downtown Annapolis going past the USNA



Fishing fleet at a 1 mile range on a very crowded weekend day. Red returns are the hard targets. Blue is the true trails of where the boats have been over the last 1 minute. Fleet was either drift fishing or trolling for striped bass at less than 3kn.



Overlay vs uncluttered radar-only screen.

Last edited by iFishMD; 01-07-2018 at 02:15 PM.
Old 01-07-2018, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by iFishMD View Post
The 1815 seems like a great option for the money if you dont have the budget or want to buy a full MFD to add radar. Here is my TZT2 with a 4kw UHD radome. If you do go MFD, do NOT got smaller than 9" in a widescreen format for radar, and much preferably 12".
Yep, that's the thing: when you add an MFD which is big enough you're suddenly into a pretty expensive unit. That's why the 1815 seems like a nice choice: pretty good display of a decent size. I can also mount it more up at eye level so I can glance over at it easily rather than looking down at the GPS.

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